The interaction thread is about every HQ-like post about your team/rider(s). Also, stuff like requests/negotiations on/with other riders/teams/the board should be done there. The board will announce special causes of interest, such as personal changes, injuries, race cancellation/changes/additions, unmanaged rider/team requests on managed teams and further stuff there. So itâ€™s also the newsboard of this story (-game).
Mads WĂĽrtz - Waghlon Vitaliy Buts - fjhoekie Christophe Laporte - trekbmc Odd Christian Eiking - trekbmc Tony Martin - the_hoyle Owain Doull - the_hoyle Nicola Boem - krisa Alberto Bettiol - krisa Dion Smith - jandal7 Enric Mas - TheSchleckFan Luke Rowe - TheSchleckFan
Edited by Croatia14 on 06-02-2017 21:43
Hey guys, a note from me. I'm John Dale, and I'm the founder and head reporter for thecyclingreport.com (formerly thecxreport) and I've been given the task of following a couple of riders in this 2017 season.
Anyone with an eye on cycling last year will almost certainly have seen the meteoric rise of Esteban Chaves showing no signs of stopping - it seemed almost every race he targeted the ever-smiling Colombian delivered a better performance than the last, from a stage win, a day in Pink and 2nd on GC for his first GT podium in the Giro d'Italia, to the first ever Colombian monument winner in Il Lombardia. An almost minimalist approach to racing served him well - despite a healthy 62 days in the professional saddle his season consisted of lots of training - a lot at home in Colombia - and some small classics, a few WT stage races to get some racing miles in his legs before more training, the Giro, more training, the Olympics (where he finished a very respectable 21st in support of his countrymen), the Vuelta and three Italian classics (two of which he won, the third was flat and his teammate came third). So what will 2017 bring?
Well, it was rumoured he'd be appearing in his team's home race in the Santos Tour Down Under - rumours that proved false, despite training in Australia with his team, a flight he'll board after Christmas. Instead he'll attend the shorter and less demanding (but still tough and competitive) Herald Sun Tour (potentially opposite Chris Froome!) to open his season before hopping around the European scene for "at least a couple of classics and a stage race to build up my legs" over the early months before kicking up a notch for the Ardennes classics and the Giro d'Italia - he hopes. Then it'll be to altitude in Colombia and studying (and maybe, pray the cycling fans of the world, enjoying) the GC battle in Le Tour de France in July from the comfort of his TV in the mornings after. Then to Spain for maybe a warm-up race with no Olympics on, but certainly La Vuelta. Italy rounds it all of with a couple of titles to defend.
His goals? The startlists will be big in April, May and August but he's fast becoming one of the world's best cyclists, and after last year some more wins must be in order? Well, with the 100th Giro on he'll be up against it just to reach 2nd again, nevermind winning - but he stays tight-lipped on anything past another good result, as with every other race, so we'll have to ask again before the races.
He's not the only rider likely to have big GC hopes next year at Orica-Scott, in fact there'll be 3, with a 4th still capable! Adam Yates broke through with a fantastic 4th place in Le Tour with the white jersey and a viral video to boot, whilst his brother Simon had a rough first half a year but more than made up for lost time in supporting Esteban in la Vuelta, claiming 6th on GC and a stage win to his name along the way. the Colombian says he's not sure where the Bury-born twins will race (though we suspect together at the TDF for one) but they're more than welcome to work with him. Meanwhile, Czech Champ Roman Kreuziger joins the team as a priceless addition - experience servicing the likes of El Pistolero himself, a top 5 in Le Tour and a win in the Amstel Gold Race to his name, and still plenty left to give - 2016 saw him top 10 Le Tour and top 12 all the Ardennes classics. The quartet will be together for at least two years more.
So we won't see Esteban Chaves in the peloton until the start of February, but from then until October prepare for that infectious grin to be all over your screens whenever you turn on a race that goes uphill. Speaking of the rest of the season, never miss out on the latest updates on Esteban Chaves, links of which will be posted here:
George Bennett would usually be thinking about and getting in shape for the Oceanic summer over Christmastime - but the team at Lotto NL-Jumbo have told him to sit out the NZ Elite National Championships and the Tour Down Under - usually a good couple of results to kick his year off.
precautionary rest after glandular fever(aka the kissing disease)a month or two ago. My summer might be fucked but at least I'm getting some
So it's back to the drawing board for the man who has, over the last season, found himself as his nation's premier road cyclist - representing his country at the Olympics with a decent 33rd, rolling in with no less than Spartacus himself. The main focus after he joined the ranks of those who have finished in the top 10 of a Grand Tour - will he be leading much. All signs point to it being not much more than in 2016 - a couple of stage races, working in most others, and some freedom on the tougher stages to attack - something which will likely be what gets stepped up. However as evidenced by many reports of him training the same regimes as Gesink, Van den Broeck and Kruiswijk, he's still got that unlikely story of La Vuelta in his mind, and so do his coaches. If the opportunity strikes, he'll be there. But where exactly does the Kiwi hope to be?
Well, as is normal for someone who isn't a leader, it'll be ultimately up to what the bosses want - but Bennett has thought long and hard on which GTs to race. The Vuelta is obvious after his continued successes there, but Le Tour and the Giro are harder to pick. But he says that with Stefan Kruiswijk likely to be targeting pink in Italy and the opportunity for a free role in some nice stages he's going to ride the Giro-Vuelta double - hopefully. The rest of the season will be where he's needed in stage races and classics, with hopefully some leading roles to further his progress. He's slated to start in the Volta ao Algarve in February - a tough race with some stages to suit the Kiwi - whether he'll have a free role, leading role or domestique duties is yet to be seen.
With a lot of training being done to further his progress and high expectations set after last season, you'll never want to miss a moment in what promises to be an interesting season to follow for George Bennett. So don't miss anything, come back here for links to all of the latest updates on the climber from Nelson:
Edited by jandal7 on 09-01-2017 11:04
The young Australian on the Orica-Bike Exchange team for 2017, Robert Power may be the special key they have to unlock to finally strike glory. Yes, they have Esteban Chaves, the Yates twins and Roman Kreuziger, but Robert Power is their wildcard. The 21-year old youngster started his journey as not a cyclist, but a rugby player attempting to follow his brother Leon in Super Rugby. Unfortunately, at the age of 13, he suffered a knee injury which eventually put him out of the rugby ranks and subsequently into the cycling world. While re-habilitating from his injury(a re-accuring theme in his youth) he stumbled over something. This "something" was of course the sport of cycling. His injury thrust him into cycling as a way to simply keep fit an be injury-free, but he soon joined his local cycling club and things kicked off from there.
All the spotlight was suddenly shone on him as a sudden call up to the National Junior High Performance Program ensued only after 5 years of picking up the sport. In his debut season of 2013, the then 18 year-old took 2 stage victories in the European cycling scene and numerous other high placings. Power in his final race of the 2013 season (junior national championships road race) signified his potential to the world stage as he tried a daring attack to bridge up to the breakaway. Although this effort was in vain, he performed an excellent race and finished 19th.
One good turn, came another as the AIS(Australian Institute of Sport) recognised his talent and signed him up for the 2014 season.Power kicked the season off with a bang as he went onto win the 2014 UCI Oceania Tour Rankings (a mulititude of races in Oceania) due to his consistent performances in the Australian and New Zealand racing circuit. His next big result came in Tour of Azerbaijan finishing 7th in the GC and was described by another australian young gun, Caleb Ewan, as "unbelievably talented". His season reached its pinnacle in the month of August. He won 3 Italian one-day race in a row in one week. Most alarmingly, beat Gianni Moscon(now sky rider) and the rest of the over-powered Italian team. Power orchestrated his racing smarts as he attacked away on a climb to separate himself from the peloton with still 40km to go. He held onto his margin and even increased it to take an incredible solo effort to take one win. The other two were pure power and strength out-climbing and sprinting the rest. He then continued his already stellar August by finishing 2nd in the Tour d'lavenir. Only beaten by Colombain climber Miguel Angle Lopez by a mere 30 seconds. This season of 2014 showed the world that he was coming........
A new year(2015), yet the same level performance. Power finished a solid 6th in the Herald Sun Tour with a few big names and took home the Youth Classification. He competed in more one day races finishing with several high placings and top 10's. He finished 6th in the Rhone Alpe Isere Tour, but most crucially won the Giro della Valle d'Aosta GC. In the opening prologue of the tour, Power blew away the competition winning by a good 20 seconds over a 5km distance. This set up his victory, only having to stay with the best of the rest to win the race which he did convincingly. Unfortunately towards the end of 2015 he was involved in a terrible crash which ruled him out for the rest of the season and was diagnosed to have a rare bone marrow disease.
Through the summer of 15/16, Orice Bike Exchange saw the potential and eventually signed him even with his injury.Power waited patiently for a long 12 months to finally get back to racing in September. He only raced a few times in the enirety of the year, but showed even more signs finishing 3rd in the Japan Cup in one of his first races as part of a WT team.
He has scheduled his season to go to Santos Tour Down Under where he will be looking to help Esteban Chaves take the win. Then most likely, he will ride the Herald Sun Tour and some of the Australian one-day races.
The future is wide open now for him as he awaits for his chance for a full season with the Orica colours on his back. Opposing teams, beware of the danger that looms in the future. Orica's secret weapon, Robert Power.
Those who are not new into the world of cycling know perfectly who Robert Gesink is, he could simply be described as the results he got this year, but that is far, far away from the real history of how he got there and how he got them.
Robert is a 30 year old professional cyclist racing in the Dutch Team LottoNL - Jumbo. Although he was born in the flat Netherlands, he is a pure climber like few from that area of Europe. He became pro in 2007, in 2006 he got brilliant results as a U-23 and he earned his spot at the Rabobank squad. In his debut year he got very good results including the Youth Jersey at the Tour of California, in wich he gained a passion for that race, 2nd GC in the Tour of Poland and a stage win at the Tour of Belgium. In 2009 he continued to impress as he again won the Youth Jersey at the Tour of California aswell as a stage, and among other good results, as a 22- Year-old debutant in a Grand Tour at La Vuelta got an incredible 7th place.
Seen at this point as an incredible talent, Rabobank made sure to keep him, Dennis Menchov was the winner of the Giro that year and Robert was designed to lead the Tour, but was forced to abandon, but came back to do 6th in the Vuelta and win the Giro Dell'Emilia. In 2010, after a stage win at Tour of Suisse he went on to do 5th in the Tour even though he was supporting Menchov, win the Gp Montreal and the Giro Dell'Emilia. In 2011 he kept his expectations because, although he had a dissapointing Tour, he destroyed the competition in the Tour of Oman, and was in the Podium of Tirreno, Pais Vasco and GP Quebec, but only weeks later he crashed in a training ride and broke his leg in 4 different places.
In 2012 his bad luck started to show, after winning the Tour of California and 4th at the Tour, where he was forced to abandon due to another crash. He came back to do 6th in a extremely hard Vuelta to save the season.
2013, the newly named Belkin squad shifts their focus in sprints and classics, Robert proceded his focus in Mountains and saddly was forced to abandon the Giro once again in the last mountain stage stopping him from a shore top 10, he came back to win the GP Quebec again saving his season.
In 2014, after a promissing season begining it was suddenly stopped, it quickly became big news in the cycling world as he was diagnosed with serious heart problems, that were sure to end his career. But he surprisingly came back after some months and when it seemed that he was abouth to save his season, he crashed and abandoned the Vuelta at Stage 18 while in 7th.
The 2015 season started with a knee injury immediatly at his season debut at Algarve, and even fearing that usual bad luck, he still focused completely in the Tour and did amazing, even without a good suport from his team he managed a brilliant 6th place only a minute behind Alberto Contador and 1st of the non-Grand Tour winners.
And then, finally 2016, he went on a simillar racing program to focus on the Tour but crashed duper hard in the Tour of Suisse, breaking his helmet, he lost memory and had serious head injuries, but, against all odds he came back in the Vuelta to win the Queen stage and show a super agressive behaviour.
He has had an up-and-down career, he's had moments where it seemed has it was the end, and moments where he was the leader of the Nation in terms of Sports, adding to the fact that is still has the hunger for results that he hoped to achieve since the begining of his career and still wants to fulfill the amazing potencial everybody said he had 8 years ago.
Now, about to begin the 2017 season, he is one of the head-figures in the LottoNL-Squad, wich is still a team focused on classics, but has a good Mountain group, including Steven Kruiswijk, Jurgen Van den Broeck, George Bennett and several young climbers. What makes this team so different from the others is the fact that they are a MPCC, and have an extremely vigorous anti-doping policy, and almost the whole team have Strava account, with heart rate and power visible, giving anybody with interest the possibility of watching and studying every training session, every blocks and every races everyday, something really unique in the World Tour.
Robert clearly as a huge passion for the sport, his home, in Girona aswell as many other pro cyclists, it's his training ground and with his faithfull GoPro he shows us the incredible views and company he has during his training sessions.
The pre-season has started, a 7-day training camp served to make unions in the team, meet the new riders, make medical testing, equipment adjusting, aero testing, well, in general those background things that are barely seen, but make a huge difference. Back in Holland, Robert continues his off-season in preparation alongside some friends and usually teammate and friend Koen Bouwman. He usually does CX and MTB rides that show that he is not a machine, he's a human beeing who demonstrates his passion for riding a bycicle not just competition.
His 2017 season will have it's begining in Australia, in terms of competition the Tour Down Under but awell before for a training block in the Aussie Summer, he will also compete in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean race before coming back to Europe where he will do the Tour of Algarve, Tour of Basque Country and Tour of Romandie, his schedule is not garanteed after that, but he his likely to go to the US for the Tour of California and a big training block before the Tour where he will target a top 10 and maybe a stage win. And if it all goes well, the Canadian WT classics and come back to Europe to finish his long and hard season at Il Lombardia.
If it all goes well, his season should have at least one WT win, his biggest goals are the Tour of California and the Tour de France.
He is very ambicious, is very motivated for this season as he is set to tutor some young teammates and pursuit his goals at the same time, to show that he is still worthy of beeing remembered as a cyclist who did great things and is still en route of achieving even greater ones...
Edited by Yellow Jersey on 01-01-2017 20:01
Jack Haig is a 23 year old professional cyclist from Australia, beeing refered by fellow countrymen as one-to-look for the future as he is a natural talent in the climbing area, and is integrated in one of the best teams in the world.
After he spent some time resting in his 2nd Home in Girona, home of many professional cyclists and doing the basic off-season schedule, he went for a 2-week training camp to Andorra, where he spends a lot of his year preparating for his biggest goals, he had the company of teammate Carlos Verona but back in Girona(rhyme not intended) he usually trains a lot with other teammates and even his "competition" that in fact are his friends and training partners.
He is not often seen as a great talent because his team is filled with other enormous talented young riders such as Chaves, the Yates brothers, Caleb Ewan and Magnus Cort Nielsen, but nonetheless that doesn't seem to darken the bright future he has ahead of him.
His goals for 2017 are evoluting more in the mountain field and try to get more opportunities to show himself in some races, although he is expected to follow Esteban Chaves for most of the season, he has the Australian Championships, Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race and the Herald Sun Tour where he will hope to shine and get a good personal result, from then on it's not very defined his calendar but he will ride both the Giro and Vuelta in support of Chaves, but really his main goal of the season is at the Tour of Slovenie where he will surely get to lead the Orica-Scott squad in an attempt to win the Yellow Jersey.
As the calendar before and after the Giro is not defined, Jack has still a lot of space to decide his calendar so he shouldn't feel the pressure, he will head to Andorra several times this year in preparation of both Giro and Vuelta, but aswell for other possible goals he should have.
He is currently in Girona just coming back from a 2-week spell in Andorra and he's soon to leave to Australia for the final tune up to his Australian goals.
Edited by Yellow Jersey on 01-01-2017 20:00
An icy day with bitter winds in the city of Tabriz marked the meeting, in a small hall 40 or more men assembled. Most hadn't even ridden a bike before, only seven of the eight members of team staff attending the meeting but very few of the wealthy sponsors who composed the majority of the group. For them this was purely a business meeting. All that mattered is that tourists from all over visited the historic city they represented and handed their money over to the town.
A stout man with a gravely voice and weighty precense spoke first. "At this time we are the greatest in all of Iran, we are known all around Asia, where we have seen success. But in America and Europe, nobody knows our name! And that is where the big money lies, as those in Bahrain, Qatar and the United Emirates have realised. We must, by 2020 or sooner, be discussing not how to bring people to the city, but which publicity criteriums the winner of the Tour of France shall compete in."
There were excited murmurings around the room, it seemed almost impossible. The burly team manager spoke up. "We are very thankful for your confidence in the team, but we cannot possible achieve such a goal on the slim budget we have..."
The stout man interjected, "and that is why we have decided to invest 40 thousand more American dollars into the team and we will, in association with the Irani Cycling Association fund the purchase of licences for each division. However we also request the team maintains it's Irani identity signing the minimum number of non Irani riders possible and achieves it's major accomplishments with riders from our great nation."
"But...but, that's impossible, no Iranians will win the tour any time soon!"
"We supply enough product, do we not? You have Mirsamad and some talent, correct?"
"Mirsamad won't be at the top forever and Dabbaghkari won't be more talented then then Mirsamad."
Â«A-hem.. Hi guys.. So.. Iâ€™ve been told to kindly manage this team, which Iâ€™m not nervous of at all. Actually I see quality all over, and I surely will do my best to get this team to the number one spot. I guess itâ€™s all or nothing. Here goes:Â»
For the 2017 season we aim for the number one spot. Hence, we need to be competitive for the win in every single race we participate at. Of course we will aim for victory in all three of the Grand Tours*gulp*, as Romain Bardet, Domenico Pozzovivo and Mathias Frank should be mooore than able to achieve that goal. Of course. Bardet is getting stronger every year so with a bit of hard training and determination he will definitely be able to win the Tour this year. Pozzovivo will target the Giro, and weâ€™ll see at the time of the Vuelta, as to which of them will have to go for the win in Spain. Frank will be luxury domestique with the likes of Geniez, Bakelants and Latour.
For the Classics we have a wide range of possible winners to shoot down the other teams. Vandenbergh and Naesen for the cobbles in the north, Vuillermoz as the clear leader when we get to the hilly races. Enger is our new man for the races that will probably end in a sprint, and overall the team looks in really solid shape for every kind of race.
Right now weâ€™re testing some training methods *blinks DISCRETELY to Trump* and we should be able to compete for victory already in the middle of January in Australia. We will make sure to bring some strong guys to showcase the new and improved ways of AG2r. Thatâ€™s all for now.
We're yet to deliver a full online Team Presentation after the event in Cape Town earlier but with a race tomorrow we thought we'd best announce the team here. Yes, tomorrow! Our Aussies wanted to ride together as we had the numbers, and Tour of Rwanda winner, who rides for Dimension Data CT, wanted to ride as well for some reason! So, our team for the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic:
We'll be aiming to deliver Mark and Nathan to some good placings and hopefully be aggressive, involved and show these guys are ready for the early season!
Amidst many rumours of being in negotiations with certain out of contract young Kiwis, which are just that at the moment, we're pleased to announce the signing on a one-year contract of one of the oldest faces in the peloton:
The Italian veteran has invaluable experience and is a loyal domestique no matter the terrain, this year he showed he'll even, whilst riding, carry your stinky shoe sole - by mouth! He'll get to show his stuff for Cav and EBH early in the season before really making his mark in the cobbled classics, the Giro and the Tour. Welcome to the family Matteo!
I'll be doing this kind of updates as Facebook posts, similar to the style that does in real life.
Friday, 8pm, 30th of December
Hey buddies, hope you're all having a great holiday season. As we're close to the end 2016 I decided to do a little review of my last year and establish my goals for the next season who's getting closer and closer
2016 was a good year, but I haven't got the sucess I had in the previous ones. I started my season at Dubai and then Oman, where I started to build my form with some nice results finishing top 15 and top 5 respectively. I then travelled to France where I faced a tough Paris Nice, not being able to have the same results as in the previous years finishing in a modest 10th place. I then moved along to Pais Basco where I surprised myself (as I was preparing the Ardennes) with yet another top 10 almost winning a stage. My biggest focus would come on the Ardennes as I finished top 20 in every single one, surprising with a top 10 in Fleche (never did it before) and making it into the podium in Liege where I lost on sprint. Only a few days later I would race the Tour of Romadie finishing in the top 10 followed by a top 20 in Argovie. Next up I would begin my preparation for le Tour and the Olympics as I went to my beloved Tour de Suisse where I clinched the top 10 but noticed lack of explovisity.
Moving to le Tour where I would for the first time since joining Lampre fight for stage wins forgetting the top 10 and then focusing on the Olympics. I was close but wasn't able to raise my arms in glory, and only got a 10th in Brazil as I couldn't follow Nibali's group. To end my season I would try to conquer some classics (was soooo close in Monreal) but I just couldn't find the glory.
This year, even though most of my fans advised me not to, i decided to extend my contract with Lampre (now apparently Abu Dhabi) and will come back to my previous focus of fighting for the GC in Tour de France and trying to finally conquer a monument. So this will be the planning for my season (don't forget it's not complete and may suffer alteration during the season):
To start my season I can assure will return to Portugal to race in Volta ao Algarve) before I race the Paris-Nice where I will try to improve my previous performances and win the race! Then I won't most likely race for a month as I will be preparing the Ardennes returning short before them (probably Pais Vasco again) to get the racing pace to be in top shape in my first big goal of the season: conquer one of the three classics. I will then do a few more races taking advantage of my shape (Romandie probably) before I take another brake to prepare le Tour de France. I can only at this point confirm that i will go to Suisse to prepare le Grand Boucle but I can't guarantee I'll fight for it as my top form must be in July. After the Tour I will do some classics and depending on how it goes I may (just may ) do la Vuelta experimenting for the first time another GT, but only if something goes wrong along the season. Anyway, I'll end my season with the World Championship and Il Lombardia, hopefully with a bunch of wins, yes WINS which is the biggest goal of my new season.
Just to end, I'd like to tell you I've been re-practicing my time-trial ability as it dropped a bit in the last year and I'm hoping to regain it for this season, without affecting my climbing skills.
Hope you all get an amazing ney year folks,
Allan Peiper: On this day BMC-Tag Heuer will announce that Raziz, is our new General Manager and Head of Race Directory. *Claps and applause*.
Allan Peiper: We have decided this on his managing ability after his management of an coming talent from down under, Robert Power. He will focus on both of our interests equally as he plans the season for such a great squad we have and deliver us to success (Gives the microphone to Raziz).
Raziz: Hello everybody, I as BMC Tag-Heuer's new General Manager and Head of Race Directory guarantee everyone at BMC-Tag Heuer to have excellent success in this year's racing. Our team and especially I are committed to provide the team with the best results they have ever had in the team's existence. 2017 is a year of improvement for the squad and I see potential for many victories this season.
Media: What will the team goal's be for the season?
Raziz: Our team is very versatile and will have many goals for the season. I believe we have a great mix of youngsters and veterans which will help our team exponentially.Goals include winning the TDU(Richie Porte), victories at the spring classics(Greg Van Avermaet, placing high at the Giro(Tejay Van Garderen), winning the TDF(Richie Porte) and retaking our throne as the best TTT team in the world at the World Championsips. Looking to also be up there in the World Tour Rankings For now, we are looking at the TDU to take our first victory of the season with Richie Porte or even Rohan Dennis.
This is our team for 2017:
This is our team for 2017 as we hope to achieve greatness.
Media: Thank you very much for your time and goodbye.
My name is Thomas De Gendt and I ride for the Lotto-Soudal team in the World Tour. A few years ago, I was one of the biggest upcoming talents in Belgium cycling. After a few years with Topsport Vlaanderen, where I got a few minor victories and a 2nd place in Brabantse Pijl, I made the transfer to the World Tour with Vacansoleil.
My first year there saw me had some successes, winning the opening stage in Paris-Nice and always attacking to defend or reclaim that jersey. My attacking style was to the liking of cycling fans, like in the Tour de Suisse where I attacked with 20km to go and still had 37 secs left at the top of the mountain on the great Andy Schleck.
At the Tour de France 2011, I suffered from a broken collarbone, but that didn't stop me from attacking in the final week, claiming a 6th place on Alpe 'd Huez after a late attack and 4th in the time trial the following day.
With that, everyone expected great things from me in 2012. I started the season with another breakaway win in Paris-Nice. Then came my highlight so far, the Giro d'Italia. The team recognised my climbing, time trial and recovery skills, so a Grand Tour seemed to be perfect for me. I was 8th in the GC before the final weekend, but an very long attack on the Mortirolo and a strong climb on the Stelvio, saw me win the stage and rise in the GC. I won another spot in the time trial the next day and claimed a GC podium.
After that, a lot of stuff I wasn't ready for happened. Suddenly I was the next Belgian Tour de France winner. There was stress and I didn't feel like riding as a GC leader, the stress in the middle of the peleton is hard for me. Add a few knee injuries and it were some bad years for me, despite a stage win in Catalunya and two time trial podiums in le Tour 2013.
Vacansoleil folded after 2013 and I transfered to Quick Step, which didn't go well for me. The team forced me to lead the peloton early in the races as they didn't see me as a team leader and weren't interested in breakaways. It was a year to forget.
I transfered to Lotto-Soudal next, where I once again was allowed to attack. It didn't go well at first, as other riders started to realise I was dangerous in breakaways. But in 2016, I was going strong again. A big win in Catalunya and on the Ventoux in le Tour meant I was back in business.
So here I am, at the start of the 2017 season. The manager said he has plans with me. There will be races where I can attack, but he also wants to give me one more shot at a Grand Tour. I can't really blame him, I mean I can climb, I can ride a good time trial and I've got great recovery. But it means I will have to be ready for fighting for my spot in the peloton. We'll have to see how that goes.
I won't go over the (provisional) roster one by one, but I'll inform you of the most important names.
DE BONDT Dries
VAN AERT Wout
VAN BREUSSEGEM Elias
VAN ZUMMEREN Stef
Dries De Bondt is an upcoming sprinter with a few top 10 results and a huge surprise win in Halle - Ingooigem. Can he repeat this in the PCT Tour?
Stijn Devolder once was the biggest cycling talent in Belgium, showing skills in both stage racing and classics. He won Ronde Van Vlaanderen twice and got some other big wins, but those days are gone. The last few years, he was the biggest help Cancellara could get on the cobbles. What can he do in what could be his last season?
Timothy Dupont was the victory king in 2016 with 15 wins over Sagan's 14. This included some nice races such as Nokere Koerse and Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen as well as some smaller classics. This will also be a step up for him, but we think he can do it!
Aidis Kruopis is a Lithuanian veteran whose fast legs gave him some wins in smaller races. As a former World Tour rider, his experience could surely benefit the team!
Tim Merlier is our first cyclocross guy, but one with an incredible sprint. Despite his limited road calendar last year, he did manage a great sprint victory in GP Stad Zottegem. Let's see what happens if we give him more road race days!
Wout Van Aert is our undisputed leader in the cyclocross, but we will also use him on the road this year. His incredible talent, equalled only by MvdP, shows great potential on the road. It was a huge surprise for some, but not for the insiders, when he defeated world champion Tony Martin in the Ronde Van BelgiĂ« prologue last year.
It seems that Africa's Team keep stepping on stones further and further away from their humble beginnings. Last year they added to their tally of Tour de France wins with a further 5 - the highest of any one team in the race. They won 8 National Championship jerseys across 5 nations. They won the King of the Mountains jersey in the Vuelta a EspaĂ±a. They wore the Yellow and Green jerseys at Le Tour, now three down, one to go. They received a medal in the World Championships, as well as 6th and two further riders in the top 20 - two Africans, no less - for 1/5th of the top 20. 32 victories shared between 7 riders - plus a team's classification. 70 podiums. They spread the word even further and helped promote Qhubeka. And of course, they became the first African team to ride in the World Tour
But enough about 2016, however great it may have been. Today we look to the future of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, because it can only get brighter. They'll be staying in the WT for another year and have no intention of dropping down - we did finish bottom last season and we plan to change that. Let's meet the team...
Janse van Rensburg
Janse van Rensburg
We operate a more open system for team leaders - only Boasson Hagen and Cavendish are "absolute leaders" - but given the nature of the roaster on many other terrains and races it just comes down to who is in the race and who is feeling good. We have a good mixture of young and old, with talents like Kudus and O'Connor and old heads like Tosatto and Eisel. We hope to bring you more of the presentation, with goals and some scheduling another time. But here will act as a hub for anything Team Dimension Data, so never miss the latest update of Africa's Team:
Our schedule will be a bit different from last year, as we have become a Pro Continental Team. We will skip a few lesser races and hope to add a few wildcards for World Tour races, especially the Flemish races of course.
We also hope for a wildcard for Strade Bianchi, though it will be hard. With Van Aert, we have the perfect rider there to unleash his power and offroad skills. That should be his season goal if we get the wildcard.
Then there's a few races like Nokere, Handzame and Le Samyn where we count on Dupont again. Kruopis, Merlier or De Bondt should provide a nice leadout there. We also want wildcards for the following WT classics. Dwars Door Vlaanderen might be skipped by the bigger names, so we want Stijn Devolder to make this race his season goal. In Harelbeke we should go for a breakaway again, while Wevelgem will be a race for Dupont. If it becomes a sprint, a top 10 should be possible.
We realise we don't stand a chance in Tour of Flanders, but with Devolder and Van Aert, we do want some tv time with an attack halfway the race. Scheldeprijs will be Dupont's season goal, a podium would be awesome. Roubaix would be a nice bonus as well, but we realise it's hard to get wildcards outside of Belgium.
Brabantse Pijl starts the Ardennes, we should try another breakaway there as we lack a true puncheur. The other Ardennes classics will have the same story, breakaway for some tv time seems the only option. After that, we give our riders a small break.
May starts with more smaller Belgian races, as well as a few Dutch ones. Wout Van Aert will try to repeat last year with a good result in Tour of Belgium. We'll also ride Luxembourg and of the Norwegian stage races. The smaller races in June will give some chances for De Bondt, Kruopis and Merlier so we can save Dupont for the National Championships. It's a flat race this year so we really want a sprint and a good result.
Over the summer we will ride more of the 1.1 and 1.2 classics where all riders will be given a chance to show themselves. Next on the goal list are Paris-Brussel, where we ride for Dupont again, and the offorad classics Omloop van het Hageland and Schaal Sels where Van Aert and Merlier are the team leaders.
Eneco Tour will be another important race for us. Dupont will handle the sprints and we also want to see how far Van Aert can get in the GC in a WT race. Needless to say, they will get the best possible support here. The rest of the autumn classics will see different leaders again, but we hope Dupont can build in one final form peak for the end of the season when we have Paris-Tours and Sluitingsprijs.
This will be our team for the Australian races; People's Choice Classic, Santos Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Fantastic Awesome Wet Ocean Road Race. This is pretty much our B-team. Not because they're not the best, but due to the fact of this weird coincidence where 5 of our riders' last names begin with a B. We hope that in particular will bring us some results. If that plan, which is actually our plan A, doesn't succeed, we have a Plan B:
Bakelants - The shining star:
Jan will be our main man, when it gets too steep for everyone else. As an experienced rider who also packs a punch, he will be our shot at victory on Willunga Hill, and for the GC down under.
Enger - Sprinter:
The Norwegian hot comet is one of the best sprinters after a hard stage, and will hopefully benefit from his speed in the first World Tour race of the year. He is great in the uphill sprints that are not too steep, and should be a contender for the win at some stages, especially stage 2. He will also be of great threat at CEGORR.
Barbier - Lead-out:
We have signed Rudy as he is a strong and speedy man. He should be able to give Enger some good lead-outs, and we're eager to watch him in his first race with the team.
Carrying bottles, pushing the leaders' backs unnoticed and going into disappointing breaks:
Australian National Championships:
We as a team, decided to rest our two big guns of Porte and Dennis, but who we did bring would end up taking the biggest victory of his life and our 1st as a team for 2017(actually 2nd after Dennis TT win.).
Miles Scotson, a name that will stay in your minds for years to come. On a tough day in the Aussie weather young little Miles Scotson caused a major upset taking out the Australian National Championships. An oppportunistic attack saw the young rider etched onto everyone's memory as he took the crown. With about 2km to go, on his last legs, he launched a move which was unmatched. The riders behind could not co-operate well enough to catch Miles and had enough time to celebrate the win. It's a great step forward in the team's morale heading into the Santos Tour Down Under with a win already up. As for Miles, he stood aloft on the top step of the podium, after all.
That's all from BMC Tag-Heuer. We will see you back at the Tour Down Under.
Edited by Raziz on 08-01-2017 10:32